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  #1  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:21 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Default Second amateur build

For the past several months I've been accumulating materials for a second scratch build. This one will be a Martin-style dreadnought with a donated Carpathian spruce top and east Indian rosewood back and sides that I saw at RC tonewoods and had to jump on. I acquired a serviced Martin neck that looks like it's a short scale (24.9") with modified V-shaped profile and 1.75" width at the nut. On my first build I made things a little complicated by working from scratch on almost every part but this time I'm going to use serviced parts. Still, to my knowledge there's only been one Martin short scale dreadnought (the recent but discontinued D-18SS) so I'll be combing over its specs. IIRC the bracing is forward-shifted.

The pieces:





I'm going for a vintage vibe on this one so the back strip is the zig zag pattern...



... but the rosette will be bold herringbone from Stewart MacDonald



Other noteworthy specs:

Bridge plate: osage orange
tail block: birch plywood instead of solid mahogany for added strength
kerfing: reverse type in basswood
bracing: 3 sitka spruce billets

ANyway, I've had the materials climatizing in my basement for several months. I don't have a reliable means of maintaining a consistent humidity level though so I've waited until things stabilized into the upper 30%'s to mid-40%'s. After setting up my cheap no. 5 jack plane I shot the joints for the soundboard and back plates this weekend then today I joined the top (using Kinkead's method) so things are officially underway:

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2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #2  
Old 04-17-2013, 05:59 AM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Why use so much weight when joining the top. The pressure required to clamp tops/backs together is pressure from the sides. An "old fashioned" way to do this is with a series of 2 wedges each along one edge, the other edge is blocked off. The weight on top only serves to keep the wood plates from buckling and lifting up, they will do nothing to improve the glue joint.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:14 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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I see your, point. It's Just overkill, I guess.
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2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #4  
Old 04-17-2013, 08:25 AM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwakatak View Post
I see your, point. It's Just overkill, I guess.
At least you won't have the back and top flying away from you in a gust of wind while drying!

The wood looks nice, BTW. How is the end grain on the top? And what about grain run-out??

Kindly continue to post pics as you build.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:38 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Today I got into planing the top to thickness in earnest. Things went slowly at first but little by little I got more and more comfortable with using the plane. I'm still not done; at this point the top is still over 3mm thick. I have to rework the burr on my cabinet scraper to get the grain truly smooth once I'm close to the desired thickness/stiffness. I will say that this is a much more satisfying process than using a drum sander, especially once the wood starts coming up in ribbons with a thickness equivalent to a sheet of paper. I don't miss having to wear a respirator and still dealing with the sawdust. Here a picture early on in the process. Later on tonight I went back to it and had enough curly ribbons on the floor to fill half a garbage bag.



I can tend to get a little burnt out if I work on something too long so eventually I put the top up and focused on shooting the joint for the back. A couple of questions came to mind after I'd eliminated all the gaps and the plates passed the light test:

1: it looks like the sides were mismarked somehow. I had the same issue with the top: the grain of each side didn't perfectly reflect the other. Eventually I decided to go with what looked the best. In the case of the top, it looks like one of the sides was flipped and the grains don't match. What do you think?



2: I'm also debating on how to insert the center stripe. For my first build I routed out a channel but I'm thinking of just laying the plates face down and pressing both against the center inlay line. Would the latter way be correct? I honestly don't know because most Martins have that spruce center stip inside the soundhole.
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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #6  
Old 04-17-2013, 11:26 PM
dekutree64 dekutree64 is offline
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Looking good! And congrats if your plane is sharp enough not to produce dust at all. I still wear a mask while thicknessing by plane, although moreso once I get to the scraper. But still, lots less dust than sanding.

The back does indeed look mismarked to me. Flip one half longitudinally and post another picture to verify.

And for the backstrip, inlay it. Marquetry strips like that are delicate so they can use more support, and it leaves some of the original back joint in there. Solid strips can be sandwiched into the joint though. But I usually inlay those as well, to add more glue area to the joint since I'm not the best plate jointer in the world.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:31 AM
gitnoob gitnoob is offline
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Good catch on that flip. Hard to see because the grain is almost symmetrical about the center near the waist.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:39 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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OK, I took some pics in natural lighting:

As outlined:



Flipping the "right" side; the saw marks and rough surface make it not so apparent:



...but when I flip the "left" side only I think it's clear that this was the way it was supposed to be:



I think I'm going to go with the last way and then join the plates. I was told to inlay the zig zag center strip as opposed to placing it between the edges of the boards.
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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:47 PM
gitnoob gitnoob is offline
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You should ask for a refund since they sent you a mismatched set.

Looks MUCH better in the last pic.
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2013, 02:53 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Regarding your possible mismatched back...

Did you flip BOTH sides to see how the grain matches on the sides WITHOUT the guitar shape drawn.

Remember, a book matched back or top has the inside cut (where both left and right surfaces are about 2mm apart from one another, since this is generally the width of the kerf of resawing band saw blades), and the outside cuts that are about 10mm away from each other (thickness of each plate - L & R - and the thickness of the middle cut).

The OUTSIDE cuts will not match as well as the inside cuts. Check it out and post back.

If indeed the inside cuts match, "dress" these surfaces with only your scraper, then take away thickness from the outside cuts (which will be the INSIDE of the guitar) in order to retain the best left to right match for the outside of the guitar.
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2013, 04:05 PM
Bugeyed Bugeyed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwakatak View Post
OK, I took some pics in natural lighting:

As outlined:



Flipping the "right" side; the saw marks and rough surface make it not so apparent:



...but when I flip the "left" side only I think it's clear that this was the way it was supposed to be:



I think I'm going to go with the last way and then join the plates. I was told to inlay the zig zag center strip as opposed to placing it between the edges of the boards.
I think you nailed it with that last one! That medullary line in the middle of the lower bout is the most distinctive feature I could see that is duplicated on the other piece.
Looks good!.
Cheers,
kev
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  #12  
Old 04-18-2013, 07:14 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Yeah, and it adds character too, doesn't it?

Anyway, part of the reason for this build is to replace my old college beater which is a rosewood/sitka dread but with laminated materials all around. Laminated or not, that guitar's rosewood has some character too:

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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #13  
Old 04-19-2013, 10:47 AM
jared1177 jared1177 is offline
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as agreed above, inlay the center backstrip. stronger that way at the joint.
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  #14  
Old 04-19-2013, 01:33 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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I glued up the rosewood back today:





I'll take it out tomorrow and then work on inlaying the back strip. After that I'm going to plane it and the sides down to about .09" thick. The top is thicknessed down to around 3mm (.120") which is around where it needs to be. I need to finish my template and rout the rosette channels.
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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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  #15  
Old 04-21-2013, 06:41 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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I routed for and inlaid the zig zag center strip last night:







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~ Neil

2013 OLF MJ (DIY build, western red cedar, Honduran mahogany)
2012 McKnight McUkulele
2009 Martin D-16GT
2006 Larrivee OM-03R
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (Natural ash)
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